The 800 series from Roomba is all about bringing you hands-free and effective cleaning at an excellent value. iRobot made several improvements to the design over previous 600- and 700-series models. If you’re looking at the Roomba 860 vs 870, you’re going to get a quality vacuum at a good price, no matter which one you buy.
Vacuums in this series use the patented AeroForce Performance cleaning system, a three-stage process that targets and removes all kinds of dirt and debris. Both the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 870 can work just as well on hardwood and linoleum as they do on carpet, transitioning seamlessly between them in a way most larger vacuums can’t.
Looking at the Roomba 860 vs 870 can be a bit confusing, however. It’s not especially clear in the company’s product descriptions just what the difference is between the two. Both are very effective and impressive vacuums, and offer their own unique benefits which are explored more below.
Tangle-Free Debris Extractors
AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System
Dual Mode Virtual Wall
The 800 series of Roombas has an impressive array of functions and features. With the 860, iRobot made it their mission to not only bring consumers the latest technology, but to do it at a price point more people can afford.
Let’s start out with the most important feature of this vacuum: how well it cleans. The Roomba 860 uses an AeroForce cleaning system, giving you as much as five times the suction power compared to other options. This system works in three stages.
There are two debris extractors, which run in opposite directions and use a rubber tread design that helps you to avoid hair and other fibers getting wrapped around the brushes. These tangle-free extractors were introduced for the 800 series and are a huge improvement over previous Roombas. While you’ll still need to periodically change the filter and empty the bin, it won’t need nearly as much maintenance as Roombas from the 600 or 700 series.
The convenience features of the Roomba 860 are also worth noting. More so than previous iterations of the device, the 860 is an actually hands-free vacuum. Its Lithium ion battery lasts up to three times longer than those of older Roomba models. Not only that, the Roomba knows when it’s starting to run out of juice and will automatically return to base to charge—so much easier than searching the entire house for where the Roomba might have ended up. You can also schedule your Roomba to clean on a recurring schedule, with up to seven slots for weekly cleaning sessions.
The compact size of the Roomba is one of its most appealing features across all the product models. It’s small enough it can fit easily under most furniture, and can navigate through relatively narrow spaces without getting stuck. The circular shape that lets it slip between chair legs also has a drawback, however: it does have a hard time reaching and cleaning corners.
As impressive as the original Roombas were, calling them “smart” was a bit of a stretch. The AI of the devices has improved with each new generation iRobot has released. The iAdapt navigation system is significantly more adaptable to a variety of home layouts. It’s also easier than it’s ever been to tell the Roomba where not to clean.
The 860 comes with one Virtual Wall Barrier, establishing a boundary at the doorway to a certain room. There is also a Halo Mode that you can set around things you don’t want Roomba to accidentally run into, so you won’t have to worry about coming home to broken décor or spilled pet bowls.
The Roomba 860 isn’t the most powerful vacuum in the iRobot catalog, but it gives you a significant improvement over previous models at about half the price of the more comprehensive models in the 900 series. If you’re looking for a deep hands-free clean at a great value, the Roomba 860 is your best option.
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In terms of the vacuum itself, the Roomba 870 is exactly the same as the Roomba 860, and will give you the same advanced scheduling and deep cleaning that was described above. The difference between the two lies in the accessories that come along with it.
You can think of the Roomba 870 as a package, giving you more useful accessories out of the box than the 860. It comes with two Virtual Walls included. You can buy additional Virtual Walls from Amazon for right around $40, but if you know you’re going to need two anyway getting them in one package is more convenient.
The Roomba 870 also comes with an extra HEPA filter. All 800-series Roomba models come standard with a filter installed when they arrive, which is especially helpful for users with allergies, making sure you won’t be breathing kicked up dust every time you vacuum. Again, you can buy additional filters but having a spare right out of the box is helpful.
Buying a Roomba 870 is around $20-$30 cheaper than buying all of the included components separately. If you’re looking at the 800 series for its value, this is a more cost-effective option in the long run. If you’re thinking more about the short-term financial investment, however, the Roomba 860 will give you the same cleaning power for less.
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If you’re looking for a high-quality hands-free vacuum but don’t have an endless budget, either the Roomba 860 or the Roomba 870 would be an excellent choice. While features like the Wi-Fi app or an included remote control are certainly helpful, you’ll be paying a lot more for the models that include them.
The size of your living space will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether you want to get the 860 vs. the 870. If you have a large or convoluted space, having the second Virtual Wall may come in handy, giving you more control over where and how your Roomba cleans. If you don’t need to provide this extra guidance, however, The Roomba 860 will be a better value.